Best Practice in tender bids
With the growing favour for lowest-price suppliers in public contracts and the subsequent disasters described almost daily in the media, the prescription for Best Practice in tender bids has changed, perhaps forever. Here’s my current advice for producing the attributes document for a Best Practice tender bid.
First take great care to note all the requirements set out in the RFT/RFP. Respond to each clearly and thoroughly. This is routine stuff to ensure you can’t be eliminated for omission. If you have any trouble unravelling what the buyer seems to be really wanting, get help at once.
Then comes the tricky part. About half of a bid attributes document these days should deal with the risks of cut-price options that the buyer may be strongly tempted to favour. To deal with these risks you need to know how to work out three things:
1. What are all the problems that the buyer can end up having to face after choosing the low or lowest-price options from your competitors?
2. What are the bid evaluators’ likely perceptions (for better or worse) regarding your technology and service, and those of your main competitors including the low-price ones?
3. How can you deal with 1. and 2. so as to be able to clearly present them to your best advantage in words and pictures as a Best Practice bid?
You need careful research and planning
Understanding these things needs careful research and careful planning specific to each contract and each evaluation team. Changes happen fast so past thinking and cutting and pasting from other bids are likely to be well off the mark. Chaos theory tells us that little changes can have big consequences. Find out how things stand today.
Then you need to plan a strategy pointing to professional pictures and well-edited text that you can weave in so that your typical error-prone evaluation team should see at once what’s really at stake.
The aim is to show enthusiasm and a full and sympathetic understanding of the perils facing the buyer now and for the life of the equipment and/or service on offer. A technical infographic is an ideal way to show on one page your reliable outcomes along one route and the disastrous outcomes of cut-price options along another.
Bottom line: The old paradigm for Best Practice tender bids is dead. There’s a war on, and to win profitable contracts you must arm yourself with great weapons and fire them straight into the buyer’s mind.
(c) This Opinion by Tom Evison was first published by Tecads in November 2017